Vandals attack, break glass of Jewish-owned businesses in Manhattan overnight

Three Jewish-owned businesses in close proximity to one another on Manhattan’s Upper East Side were broken into early Wednesday morning, their glass doors smashed, Jewish Insider has learned.

The Level 78 barber shop on 78th Street and Third Avenue, kosher restaurant Rothschild TLV on Lexington Avenue and 79th Street and The Nuts Factory candy shop on Third Avenue and 74th Street all had their glass windows or doors shattered at around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, the night of Israel’s Independence Day. The stores are all within blocks of the Moise Safra Center on Lexington and 82nd, which has attracted a number of kosher restaurants since it opened.

“The NYPD is aware of a series of incidents that took place at several businesses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and is investigating. We are also aware that many of these sites are visibly Jewish-run businesses, and we understand how unsettling this news may be for a community that is already on edge,” a City Hall spokesperson told JI.

“As part of the investigation, the NYPD is looking into whether these were biased attacks, and if found to be true, will not hesitate to arrest and charge the individuals responsible accordingly.”

Rami “Richie” Yagudayev, owner of Level 78, told JI that he received a call in the middle of the night from a client who lives in the neighborhood. While walking his dog, the client noticed that the shop’s glass front door had been smashed and called the police.

Yagudayev, who is from Israel and has owned the barber shop for 10 years, said that a phone that the store used to play music was stolen, but no money was taken from the register.

“I think all the blessings saved my shop,” Yagudayev told JI, pointing to the mezuzah on the front door and photos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, scattered throughout the store. The incident was captured on a store surveillance camera. Yagudayev described the culprit as “an Asian man with his face covered by a mask.”

Upon learning about the broken windows at Rothschild TLV and The Nuts Factory, Yagudayev said, “Now [it seems like] a hate crime.”

“History doesn’t repeat but it definitely rhymes,” Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, the rebbetzin at Altneu Synagogue on the Upper East Side, told JI, referring to Kristallnacht, or “night of broken glass,” the widespread pogroms in 1938 that targeted Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.

Chizhik-Goldschmidt emphasized that the Upper East Side attacks were “clearly an effort by thugs to intimidate the local Jewish community.”

The incidents come on the heels of another Jewish owned store in the area, Breads Bakery on Third Avenue and 74th Street, being broken into on Sunday. A 40-year-old male, Darryl Simmons, was arrested and charged with burglary. “This incident is not being investigated as a possible bias incident,” a spokesperson for NYPD told JI.

There has been a dramatic spike in antisemitism in New York City since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel. Reports of antisemitic incidents in the city soared 508% in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the previous quarter.